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Rosslyn Rolls Out New Streetscape Improvements

by ARLnow.com — March 31, 2016 at 3:50 pm 0

Rosslyn is getting some new street furniture, featuring a design that evokes the neighborhood’s skyline at night.

The Rosslyn Business Improvement District held a press conference today to herald the arrival of the new sidewalk elements, which were designed by New York-based industrial designer Ignacio Ciocchini.

For now, the new items — benches, trash and recycling cans, bike racks, mobile information kiosks, newspaper box corrals and informational signs — have only been installed around the intersection of Wilson Blvd and N. Oak Street. Officials will gather public feedback on the new streetscape design before starting the process of installing such items throughout the Rosslyn commercial district.

“The purpose behind creating a unique streetscape design is to create a distinct contemporary identity for Rosslyn in addition to encouraging pedestrian activity, connectivity and enjoyment of the neighborhood,” said Lucia de Cordre, Urban Design Director of the Rosslyn BID, in a statement. “The elements were also created to extend the benefits of current redevelopment projects and the long-term vision of the Realize Rosslyn sector plan to the street level. This isn’t design just for aesthetics’ sake, this is a deliberate, functional approach toward supporting retail, walkability and an active public realm.”

County Board member John Vihstadt spoke at the unveiling today and praised the efforts to modernize Rosslyn, noting that the Rosslyn skyline, which inspired the new streetscape design, is often the public face of Arlington.

“Rosslyn is Arlington’s downtown, it’s Arlington’s front door,” he said. “That door needs to be open for businesses, residents and visitors so Arlington can thrive.”

Vihstadt recalled the old Tom Sarris Orleans House restaurant down the street, which was torn down a number of years ago and is now the site of an under-construction office tower.

“It was a great place to bring your grandmother,” he quipped.

Vihstadt said there are “unique things going on” in Rosslyn that will help ensure its desirability as an urban place that mixes office and residential uses.

“It’s not exactly Manhattan on the Potomac, but it’s not Mayberry either,” he said.

The full press release from the Rosslyn BID, after the jump.

The Rosslyn Business Improvement District (BID) announced today the successful first installment of the area’s first neighborhood specific streetscape design initiative.

The demonstration project–installed at the corner of Wilson Boulevard and Oak Street–features custom designed, modern sidewalk elements such as benches, trash and recycling cans, bike racks, mobile information kiosks, newspaper box corrals and informational signs.

“The purpose behind creating a unique streetscape design is to create a distinct contemporary identity for Rosslyn in addition to encouraging pedestrian activity, connectivity and enjoyment of the neighborhood,” said Lucia de Cordre, Urban Design Director, Rosslyn BID. “The elements were also created to extend the benefits of current redevelopment projects and the long-term vision of the Realize Rosslyn sector plan to the street level. This isn’t design just for aesthetics’ sake, this is a deliberate, functional approach toward supporting retail, walkability and an active public realm.”

New York-based industrial designer Ignacio Ciocchini developed the custom elements, which incorporate a unique perforated design derived from the window lights of prominent buildings in the Rosslyn skyline.

“The elements set a unifying, consistent urban aesthetic that is immediately identifiable as Rosslyn,” said Ciocchini. “We studied and drew inspiration from other urban districts that have successfully enhanced their pedestrian environments such as the Chelsea Meatpacking District, 34th Street Partnership and the Bryant Park Corporation in New York City.”

The streetscape initiative is a collaborative effort between the Rosslyn BID and Arlington County; the project is fully funded and will be fully maintained by the BID. The new elements will be introduced at a small unveiling ceremony on Thursday, March 31st at 11:30 am.

“Part of Arlington’s charm is that we are a collection of urban villages each with its own unique identity,” said Jay Fisette, Arlington County Board Vice-Chair. “The Rosslyn BID’s strong collaborative relationship with the County has enabled us to work together to innovate with urban design and test new ideas for enhancing our public realm while giving the community an opportunity to provide feedback on the direction of the initiative.”

Once the BID has collected feedback from the community, the organization will work with the community to expand the elements throughout the Rosslyn commercial district.

Parklets, mobile curbside seating platforms, will be incorporated in the next phase of the project. Streetlights that would serve as mobile Wi-Fi hotspots and create a network throughout the commercial district are also being evaluated as part of the initiative.

“For a dense urban area like Rosslyn, which has been experiencing rapid growth and has the highest pedestrian volume in Arlington County, maximizing the use of public space is crucial,” said Mary-Claire Burick, President, Rosslyn BID. “Everything we do, from the mobile vending zone pilot and long-term sector planning to this streetscape design initiative, is with an eye toward creating a world-class urban experience.”

More information on the Rosslyn BID’s streetscape initiative can be found here: http://www.rosslynva.org/_files/StreetscapeBooklet.pdf

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